Syrian holdouts struggle under attack by regime and Western-backed forces

To the Point
People inspect a damaged site after airstrikes

The breakdown of the US-brokered ceasefire in Syria was made more permanent on Monday when the US and Russia terminated all Syria-related discussions and cooperation. Meanwhile, the reality on the ground in Aleppo continues to worsen.

Filmmaker and Syrian resident Waad Alkateab lives in East Aleppo and has been filming the aftermath, including footage of little boys swimming in bunker bomb craters filled with water from burst water mains. Most days, she says, she lives in the local hospital where her husband, a doctor, works in the emergency and operating room.

Alkateab said last week that she found hope in the destruction:

"The day before yesterday I went to document what happened after the Russian and regime air forces attacked and bombed. I really was so surprised when these children were swimming in a hole made by a explosive barrel. I was really surprised. It shows hope always exists in Aleppo," she says. "We always expect damage and death but hope always exists in Aleppo."

Vanessa Beeley, a British journalist, photographer and peace activist who writes for 21st CenturyWire was invited with a congregation to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently. She believes Assad is the only leader who can unify Syria and said Assad has been unfairly demonized by the media. According to Beeley, the media pays little attention to the situation in government-controlled western Aleppo, where she says civilians are being targeted and killed by western-backed opposition forces.

Alkataeb disagrees.

“I am from the western part, but fled to eastern (Aleppo) in 2012 because I was wanted by the regime. I was a university student in Aleppo University and I couldn’t graduate because I was wanted. There are a lot of people — students, engineers, doctors [in east Aleppo] — and all of them are not terrorists. My eight-month old daughter is not terrorist — 350,000 people are not all terrorists”

UK Independent writer Patrick Cockburn, who has reported extensively about the conflict, called Beeley’s statements “nonsense.”

“Syria is in a genuine civil war,” he said, adding that it is in desperate need of a ceasefire and demilitarization.

This story was first aired as an interview on To The Point.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.